Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, announced today that its ARCH Air Medical base (ARCH 3) will carry blood and plasma on its missions to support improved outcomes for patients involved in traumatic injuries or other conditions that require transfusions.
Air Methods has continuously worked to increase the number of aircraft nationwide that carry blood or plasma onboard. This includes ARCH 3 where carrying blood and plasma on its flights was not feasible until now due to supply limitations and the smaller population served in its Southern Illinois service region.
Carrying blood and plasma during air medical missions can be a significant contributing factor in optimal patient outcomes. For example, patients suffering significant blood loss are at risk for hemorrhagic shock which causes the body’s organs to fail and can lead to death. The administration of thawed plasma during prehospital air medical transport to patients at risk for hemorrhagic shock was deemed safe by medical researchers and resulted in lower 30-day mortality and faster blood clotting than standard-care resuscitation, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.
“Carrying blood and plasma on our missions to better care for our patient community was always a goal of ARCH 3, but this precious commodity was unfortunately unavailable to us,” said ARCH 3 Manager Kristin Ezell. “By partnering with the American Red Cross to ensure a consistent flow of blood and plasma has afforded us this opportunity to deliver higher-quality, evidence-based emergency medical care on our missions and it is a privilege we do not take lightly. We are honored to be able to deliver critical blood transfusions when needed and are enormously grateful to the American Red Cross for helping us protect the communities we serve.”
Leading in Emergency Medical Care and Safety
Adding blood and plasma to ARCH 3’s Bell 407 helicopter and the rest of the Air Methods’ non-hospital fleet is only one of several ways the air medical provider continues to enhance safety and enable improved patient outcomes. For example, our patient-centered culture is Air Methods’ dedication to technical standards and training, which leads the air medical industry. Air Methods’ registered nurses or paramedic-level trained clinicians are required to have practiced at least three years in an emergency care or intensive care setting. Clinicians must also obtain 100 hours of continuing education every year following Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) standards. In addition, every Air Methods mission is reviewed, in part, to identify training or education opportunities. Approximately 30 cases each month receive an in-depth quality review by clinical quality, education, compliance and risk teams to ensure patient safety and best practices for continued success.
Air Methods is also investing $100 million over 10 years to ensure that the company’s 1,300 pilots are prepared for the most challenging safety scenarios. Pilots fly the world’s largest civilian fleet of helicopters, which are custom designed and supplied to include clot-busting medications for stroke, intra-aortic balloon pump in addition to the drug lines, monitoring devices, transfer vents and other equipment to ensure a safe and effective transfer to hospital. Helicopters are also fully-equipped with safety features such as night vision goggles (NVGs), XM satellite weather and tracking systems, GPS and helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems.
Now with blood and plasma on every needed mission, ARCH 3 and the rest of the Air Methods’ aircraft are truly serving as intensive care units in the sky.
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